Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has welcomed confirmation from Council staff that the outstanding works to be completed at Annagh Lake to upgrade the amenity facilities have started today and will be completed by the end of November.
Last year, I worked with members of the local community and staff of the County Council to bring forward a proposal for much needed improvements at this popular amenity near Butlersbridge. Whilst the car park is in excellent condition the rest of the amenity is in need of improvement.
Funding of €45,000 under the CLÀR Programme has been allocated to provide new changing facilities, a BBQ, extended picnic facilities and a biodiversity area. Work has already been done to improve the footpaths.
The existing changing rooms are not attractive or sufficient to make users feel at ease using them. The new facility will be more attractive and have been designed in conjunction with users. The new stone BBQ area will be constructed adjacent to the picnic area which is to be substantially improved.
This investment was widely welcomed when announced last year. I am delighted to see the work commence and look forward to completion shortly.
This week two judges from the UNESCO Global Geopark Network will visit the Cuilcagh Lakeland’s Geopark to complete a four year review of the activities of the Geopark as part of the revalidation process.
The visit was due in 2020 but due to Covid was deferred for one year. Over the course of the three-day inspection the judges will visit Geopark sites in Counties Cavan and Fermanagh, meet with Geopark staff, senior staff in Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and Cavan County Council, Geopark Guides, representatives of local tourism business and the local community.
As chair of the Geopark Committee, I look forward to meeting and welcoming, the judges, Dr. Asier Hilario from the Basque Coast UNESCO Geopark and Jean Simon Pages from the Haute-Provence UNESCO Global Geopark to our Geopark.
The Geopark has made significant progress over recent years, many of the major sites have had upgrade works complete to improve the visitor experience, it had been rebranded as the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark UNESCO Global Geopark, a dedicated team of staff have been put in place to manage and develop the Geopark based in Blacklion but working with colleagues in both local authorities. A Development Plan has been agreed by both Councils setting out the medium to long-term objectives of the Geopark and very large-scale funding has been put in place from Failte Ireland for the development of the Shannon Pot and the Cavan Burren Park.
Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor has welcomed the extension of the National Walks Scheme to the Cavan Way from Dowra & Blacklion through Breifne Integrated.
The Cavan Way is currently managed by Cavan County Council and, when opened in the late 1980s, was the first time the key sites in what is now known as Cavan Burren Park were really opened up to the public and also linked Dowra, the First Village on the Shannon, and the Leitrim Way walk, along the Shannon River, to the Shannon Pot in Glangevlin and on to Blacklion and the Ulster Way Trail.
Those first steps in the 1980s are the foundation for the later investment in the Cavan Burren Park and what is forthcoming for the Shannon Pot and indeed the Cavan element of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark.
Local landowners have been very accommodating of the Council and walkers in terms of putting the Cavan Way in place but also in the completion of some re-routing over the years and in on-going maintenance.
As the Cavan Way now forms part of the Beara-Breifne Walk and falls under the auspices of the National Trails Office, the National Walks Scheme initiated by then Minister, Eamon O Cuiv in 2008, will allow landowners over whose property the Cavan Way passes to agree a programme of maintenance which the landowner must complete in return for an annual payment.
There has already been some engagement with landowners by Cavan County Council and Breifne Integrated this will now be intensified and more details to follow.
Killykeen is one of the flag-ship attractions in County Cavan and a key local amenity. The opening of the Greenway which links Killeshandra with Killykeen is significant and welcome, as has marketing of Cabu by the Lake in recent months. It also highlights the need for more investment.
Killykeen incorporates Lough Oughter, the River Erne and is surrounded by sites of huge historic importance from Drumlane Abbey, Trinity Island, Clough Oughter Castle and Farnham.
This linking of Killeshandra with Killykeen is vitally important. As well as the economic importance to the Town visitors can also see the historic links such as the the Rath Church. Maximising the tourist potential of Killykeen is key to developing tourism in the Killeshandra area and can build on the work done over the years by individuals and the community in conjunction with Cavan County Council and assist in progressing future plans such as the Killeshandra Camino.
Within the confines of Killykeen more and better walks and more signage are all necessary. The visitor experience needs to be further enhanced. The investment to-date are all welcome but much more is needed.